Lady Cats victorious over Jackson County
Wildcats win over Blue Devils, Owls
Thurman helps Lady Lions in recent wins
Cats victorious over Jackson County
Kassie Hunley/OCN Sports
Alissa Sells cuts inside for a basket against the Lady Blue Devils
By MAC McLEOD, OCN Sports
At 6' 8", Smith County's Kayci Farris is perhaps the tallest
girls high school basketball player in the state. Her height alone
makes her a formable obstacle to any opponent, and somewhere along
the line she's determined to play her college ball at the University
of Tennessee and be a star.
Recently Farris told one of the Nashville television stations she
was going to UT and be the next Candace Parker. Parker is one of
the best players in the nation.
"She may go to UT, and she may be a good player, but right
now she's no Candace Parker," Livingston Academy's Ashley Matthew
flatly pointed out Friday night after the Lady Wildcats toppled
Farris and her Smith County teammates in commanding fashion, 56-42.
Farris got her normal 20 plus points, but she didn't compare to
5"6" Matthews .
LA head coach Lesley Smith said, "That may have been Ashley's
best game ever at Livingston Academy. She did everything from taking
a couple rebounds from Farris to nailing more points. She played
her heart out tonight, and I was so proud of her."
Farris scored 23 points, grabbed more rebounds than anyone on the
floor, and had 4 blocked shots in one period; but it still wasn't
enough to topple Livingston. Matthews nailed 25 points and simply
controlled the tempo of the entire game.
And she got a lot of help. Inside, Brittany McCoin played perhaps
her best game as a Lady Wildcat, going toe to toe with the much
taller Farris and coming away with 6 points, but just as important,
she never gave an inch inside.
"Well," McCoin started out, "you have to respect
her height, but you have to figure a way to hold her out, and tonight
we just went at her as hard as we could and it paid off.
"Kendria (Kilgore) faked her one way and scored the other
way, and Britany (Smith) just never gave up inside.
"I have to agree with Coach Smith, this was our best game
so far. I thought our game with Jackson County Tuesday was a good
one, but this was even better."
The inside muscle of McCoin, Kilgore, and Smith, along with Mallie
Stephens' always strong defensive play all over the floor and Alison
West's 14 points, assured the Lady Cats of no worse than a second
place finish in the regular season. And wins in their final two
district games this week against Cannon County and rival Upperman
could land them in a tie for the district's top spot.
West said, "You know she (Farris) is going to get her points.
"That's a given. When you play them, you just have to keep
everyone else from getting theirs, and we did that.
"This was a really good team effort, and it looks like now
we are hitting our stride down the stretch, and it couldn't have
come at a better time.
"We played a good game against Jackson County on Tuesday night,
and then came back tonight with another good game. We just need
to keep it up next week, then carry the momentum into the district
Livingston started the week by taking on old nemesis Jackson County
in Gainesboro, and at the end of the first period, were trailing
by 9. Things didn't look all that good.
Coach Smith said, "We didn't play good defense early in the
game, but once we started playing good defense, everything fell
into place. We are working so hard on defense, and it was good to
see the hard work finally starting to pay off."
In the second period, the Lady Cats held Jackson County to only
6 points and closed the gap to 24-20. In the third frame it all
came together as Livingston ripped the cords for 10 points while
holding the Lady Blue Devils to only 2, and going into the final
8 minutes led 30-26.
Using the defense again in the fourth period, LA allowed the home
team only 7 points while scoring 11 of their own for the 41-33 win.
Matthews topped the LA scoring attack with 15 points, while West
was close behind with 13. Alissa Sells had 5, and Kilgore added
Before Friday's game at Smith County, Coach Smith applauded her
team's defensive effort on Tuesday night.
"That is what we have worked on, and against Jackson we did
it the way it should be done," Coach Smith explained. "We
got behind by about 10, I think, but we didn't panic and played
steady for three straight periods. It paid off, and I just hope
we have realized how important defense is and will do it again tonight
(Friday) and then next week."
In Friday's game, it was almost a repeat of Tuesday's contest.
Livingston fell behind 11-8 in the first period, then the defense
kicked in, and for most of the second period, the Lady Owls had
trouble just getting the ball across the half-court line. Time after
time, a steal by West or Matthews resulted in Livingston points.
In the second period, LA scored 18 points while holding Smith County
to 8. And in the third frame, it was a 16-9 LA advantage that spelled
Matthews said, "Those two games are definitely our best two
games of the season. We've worked on it (defense) hard in practice,
and now we are seeing just how important it is.
"I think we've held the other team to single points in four
or five of the last six periods in single numbers. Its coming together,
and its coming at the right time."
Now at 21-6 overall and 8-2 in District 7-AA, the Lady Wildcats
will host Upperman on Friday, Feb. 9, after hosting Cannon County
on Tuesday, Feb. 6. LA will close the regular season with a game
at Cookeville High School on Monday, Feb. 12.
win over Blue Devils, Owls
Kassie Hunley/OCN Sports
Jeremy McLearran bounces a pass to a Livingston Academy Wildcats
By MAC McLEOD, OCN Sports
Sometimes you're lucky and sometimes you're good. If you are good,
you don't need much luck. When you're not having a good day, then
it's much better to be lucky.
Such could be said about the Livingston Academy Wildcats last week
as they were simply good in a 60-48 payback win over rival Jackson
County on Tuesday night, Jan. 30. Friday, things weren't going exactly
right, so with a little luck late in the game, they were able to
come from behind and upend Smith County 48-42.
"I'm not sure it was luck," LA head coach Richard Melton
said after Friday's District 7-AA win over Smith County, "but
I will say we were horrible in the first half and had to play much
better in the second half to win. I was sure glad to get out of
there with a win."
In as much as Friday's game was not so pretty, Tuesday's outing
may have been one of the Wildcats' best showings of the season.
It was revenge for an earlier 66-62 loss for one thing, and on the
other hand, it was a steady performance from start to finish.
Senior forward Tyson Stover said of the win over Jackson County,
"Other than the free throws I missed, it was a good game. We
got behind but never lost our composure, and we just steadily came
back until we got on top, then we stayed there.
"Our defense was pretty good, and after a slow start, I thought
we played pretty good."
Stover was pretty much right on the money recalling Tuesday's game.
Livingston fell behind 16-14 at the end of the first period, and
only outscored the Blue Devils 13-12 in the second frame to trail
by a point at 28-27 at intermission.
Then in the third period, the defense kicked in. Jackson County
managed only 6 points, while Stover and his teammates, including
Chase Dunn, and Jeremy McLearran and Deven Ramsey, rolled off 9
straight points at one point to jump ahead 43-34 going into the
final 8 minutes.
In the final frame, Everley hit 5 straight points and Todd Smith
5 free throws as the Wildcats pulled away to their 18th win of the
season against 9 losses.
Dunn led the LA attack with 15 points, while McLearran added 12
and Smith was good for 10. Everley added 8 and Stover 7 to round
out the balanced attack.
Coach Melton said, "Jeremy played one of his best games of
the season, and Clint (West) was so good on defense. Defense wins
games, and Tuesday night we played good defense.
"And I was pleased that when we got behind early, we didn't
rush things trying to catch up. That's the mark of a seasoned team."
Heading to Carthage on Friday, Feb. 2, the Wildcats were knotted
with Upperman for the top spot in the district after the Bees dropped
a decision to York on Tuesday. A win against the Owls would assure
LA of no worse than a second place finish in the district, regardless
of what happens this week in the final two league games of the regular
season. A win over the Owls was critical.
But in the dimly lit gym of Smith County, things didn't get off
to a good start at all for the Wildcats. Livingston went almost
4 minutes before Dunn finally got points on the board, and at the
end of the initial period, the two teams claimed 11 points each.
Then in the second period, the rebounds went the wrong way, the
top slammed shut on the LA basket, and the Owls found a way to work
the back door bucket to perfection. Livingston scored just 7 points
in the period, while the home team put 15 on the board. At intermission,
the Owls led 26-18.
"That was not very pretty at all," Melton continued.
"Sometimes it goes like that, but we are a much better team
than that. We didn't get good play from our post players, our shots
were going inside, and we couldn't hit anything from outside. As
a matter of fact, this was the first game of the year I think, we
didn't make a three.
"In addition to all that, we weren't getting any rebounds.
As hard as we thought we were trying, we just weren't in the right
spot at the right time."
At one point in the second period, Smith County got six attempts
at a basket before finally making it.
But in the final two periods, the Wildcats regained composure and
control and outscored the home team 30-16.
Livingston trailed by a point at 36-35 going into the final period,
but a bucket by Stover to open the final period put the Wildcats
on top for the first time of the night. West then created a 5-second
violation on the Owls and Ramsey converted on the other end of the
floor, and suddenly the Cats had pulled away to a 6-point lead.
Smith County closed to within 3 with 47 seconds remaining, but
Stover hit three straight free throws to seal the win.
"There's no sure win in the district this year," Coach
Melton concluded, "and this win is a big one for us. We face
Cannon County and Upperman next week to round out the regular season,
and you know the Upperman game will be big. Thank goodness it's
at our place, and you know it will be packed.
"We played very well, I thought, on Tuesday night at Jackson
County, and we got away with a win here tonight. We'll take it and
Dunn led Livingston in scoring with 14 points, well below his season
average. Everley picked up some of the slack with 12 points, and
Ramsey had 10, which balanced the attack. McLearran added 6, and
Stover had 5 on the night.
After hosting Cannon County on Tuesday, Feb. 6, Livingston Academy
will host Upperman on Friday, Feb. 9. The final regular season game
will be at Cookeville on Monday night, Feb. 12, then tournament
action will get underway at Baxter later next week.
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helps Lady Lions in recent wins
Former Livingston Academy standout Kellie Thurman scored in double
figures in recent wins for the Bryan College Lady Lions.
Thurman scored 12 points in the Lady Lions' 83-77 conference win
over the Cavaliers of Montreat College on Saturday, Jan. 27 in Montreat,
The Overton County junior scored 15 points and pulled down 8 rebounds
in a 77-57 win over Bluefield College's Lady Rams on Tuesday, Jan.
23 in Dayton.
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Overton County News
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